Our vision for your school
Students who enroll at Sky Islands join an academic community and are expected to take part in that community respectfully and apply themselves responsibly to academic work. We do not offer credit-recovery programs, and our curriculum is not fast-paced nor strictly individualized. Students should be prepared to be physically active in our field work projects and intellectually challenged in our classrooms. Parents and students alike are expected to make an active investment of time and labor in successfully meeting the student’s needs and obligations.
All Sky Islands’ students take a demanding, teacher-taught sequence of core classes in math, science, social studies, and language arts. Electives in visual arts, guitar, culinary arts, and ecology are available. Advanced classes in applied studies are available for those students who meet or exceed the academic and behavioral pre-requisites. Our classes are aligned with Common Core and AZ State Standards, and integrated across the academic disciplines by grade level. Expectations are high, but achievable, and students are held personally responsible for participating critically and within acceptable limits.
Our educational program takes science and environmental problems seriously. As a public institution, we directly address, through facts and informed discussion, issues that concern the public domain. They include the study of current and competing economic and political ideas, and ecological collapse. Regardless of their path from high school, these are all concerns that 21st century students are aware of but cannot critically or actively address without tools and skills.
We are keenly aware of the controversy that surrounds an ethic of limits, and the societal push to ‘exceed our limits’. Sky Islands is designed to be a public school that recognizes limits and established rules and norms, and is designed to work within our ‘carrying capacity’ as a vibrant public space. We value individuals and diversity, but as a sustainable teaching/learning environment, we do not prize self-interest over community-based relationships and interactions. Our students go on from here to college, into apprenticeships in the skilled trades, and directly into the workforce. We encourage you to take part in a site visit and to realistically appraise your student’s needs and interests against Sky Islands’ practices and principles.
Dr Shari Popen, Founder and Director